I’m attempting to trail Brahma in the various sanskrit texts.
He is the supreme Barahamanspate in the Vedas.
He is the manasa (mind) father of all the rishis and prajapatis from whom everyone else descended and he is generally referred to as tAta or pitAmaha (grandfather).
The word for the ultimate in the Upanishads is Brahman – the great or Parabrahman the ultimate.
And yet, in the trinity, Brahma as the creator has a minor role to Vishnu the Preserver and Rudra the Dissolver. Since his work is done?
His consort or s’akthi is the Saraswathi River who personifies the Goddess of Learning, VidyA. Creativity and Learning.
His vehicle is the hamsa or the swan with the discrimination to separate milk and water. Enlightened Souls are called Hamsas and Sri Ramakrishna was called Parama Hamsa or the supreme enlightened soul. Hamsa it self is the yaska-niruktha-reversed Sah-aham (He I am) the mantra of the advaitins.
There are many explanations as to why there is no Vigraha Aradhana for Brahma. Some puranas quote Siva’s decree and give different causes from telling childish lies to whatever else. Other popular stories say that it is the curse (s’Apam) of Bhrgu, for not paying him attention.
But the fact remains that there is no Vigraha Aradhana for him. Interestingly the Vedas and Vedic Rituals also do not use Vigrahas – only the sacred fire – who as the vahaka will carry one’s offerings to the Devata (luminary) of interest.
(Update : One exception to this rule is the famous temple to Brahma, in the lovely lake city of Pushkar. I had the good fortune to visit this.)
The 3 major Hindu Philosophical Sects Advaita, Dvaita and Visishta Dvaita accept the authority of the Vedas and Upanishads and differ only in interpretation of some key terms. In fact Hindus use the Veda Mantras and Rites to perform weddings, house-entires (warmings), naming and death ceremonies. This is then normally followed by a SatyaNarayana Vratam which uses a Photograph and worship involving flowers coconuts etc.
Siva himself decrees in the Siva Purana , that without Brahma no yajna will be complete.
While Saraswathi Devi is worshipped in every school and home, not a word of salutation is offered to Brahma. She is referred to as Brahma-vicAra-sAra-paramA (the ultimate essence of all thought of Brahma).
What can I conclude from this?
Just as the SivaLinga, the Nishkala Rupa of Siva is meant to train us to focus on the formless God, I think the Absence of Vigraha Aradhana forces us to focus on the Nirguna Brahma (Attributeless God).
I am also tempted to think that a lot of symbolic explanations were put in place when the different Ancient Indian Civilizations of the different river deltas and coasts met and they had to explain why other people had different ways and customs.
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